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Cancer Community Alarmed at CMS Policy Lumping Life-Saving Cancer Therapy With Diagnostic Testing For Major Funding Cuts
Date:9/1/2009

erapy has been found to be under-utilized, with a variety of barriers, including travel time to care, cited as standing between patients and treatment. Following a review of relevant literature, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) found evidence of disparities in radiation therapy use among older patients; women; and African Americans, with the exception of care provided in the Veterans' Administration system. In another study of more than 11,000 women in Florida who had undergone breast conserving surgery, the odds of receiving post-surgical radiation therapy decreased by 3 percent for every 5-mile increase in the distance to the nearest radiation therapy facility.

"We support using data to ensure that payment rates for medical procedure are appropriate," said Leonard Kalman, M.D., Chairman of US Oncology's Public Policy Steering Committee. "However, making cuts of this size to radiation therapy - a treatment modality that more than 1 million cancer patients rely upon each year for both curative intent and palliative treatment - without an expressed rationale backed by supporting data is unsound and frankly quite frightening. On behalf of our country's cancer patients, many of whom will rely on radiation therapy at some point in their illness, we must ensure that these cuts are not applied."


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SOURCE US Oncology
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